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May 8, 2007

Canadian coin sparks U.S. espionage alert


Canada's 2004 commemorative silver-colored 25-cent piece, featuring a red poppy in its center (above), triggered a warning from the Defense Security Service, part of the U.S. Department of Defense, after suspicious U.S. Army contractors traveling in Canada received them, most likely in change.

The alert stated that "mysterious coins with radio-frequency transmitters had been planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006," according to today's Associated Press story by Ted Bridis.

"The worried contractors described the coins as 'filled with something man-made that looked like nano-technology,' according to once-classified U.S. government reports.

Stand down: "The supposed nano-technology on the coin actually was a protective coating the Royal Canadian Mint applied to prevent the poppy’s red color from rubbing off. The mint produced nearly 30 million quarters in 2004 commemorating Canada’s 117,000 war dead."

File under "I said be careful his bowtie is really a camera."

May 8, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Is Eric Clapton's 'Cocaine' next?


What with all the excitement and posturing about the energy drink called Cocaine yesterday being pulled from shelves across the country in response to the mind police aka (in this instance) the F.D.A., I got to wondering about Clapton's iconic 1977 version, written and originally recorded by J. J. Cale in 1976.

Is it only a matter of time before iTunes bends over in response to demands from the government to cease and desist?

You laugh.


Just wait.

May 8, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'The heroine of Richard Flanagan's stunning new novel...'


Just eight words — half George Bush's famous sixteen — were all it took to have me get Amazon on my speed dial and order Richard Flanagan's new novel (above).

Why so credulous?

Because those are the first eight words of the opening sentence of New York Times lead book reviewer Michiko Kakutani's review, on the front page of today's Arts section.

Background: Ms. Kakutani is among the hardest to please reviewers currently writing in English.

98% of her reviews find fault with the books under scrutiny.

To read those eight words was to be first stunned, then prodded into action.

May 8, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Only a concept, alas.


"The incredibly thin wireless keyboard is used as a protection cover for transportation. It stays in place with a combination of magnets and notches. On the back of the computer, a hinge allows it to be put in a vertical position so you can use Mactab comfortably on your desk."


Designed by Yann Le Coroller.

[via yankodesign.com and Mike Ballan's elegant website]

May 8, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

writers anonymous


    writers anonymous

    Many a story came into being slowly. Writers getting up from their keyboards or tossing down their notebooks in defeat, sometimes the third or fourth defeat of the day/week/month/year, but we all go back. Whether writing with pen/pencil and paper, using a typewriter, or with the latest word program, writing is sometimes not an easy task, but those who have to write, will write.

    If you lost count of how many times someone suggested you "be realistic" or "get a real job," you know what writing is about. If you've handed someone pages of your latest idea, complete with corrective arrows pointing out where they should jump from one section to the next and words scratched through and replaced, then paced around waiting for their opinion (and if they thought it was bad, and you knew it was brillant, called them an idiot under your breath), if you grin mischievously when someone says, "I don't get it", you know what writing is about.

    Borrowing from another "anonymous" group, we've changed their one day at a time to one page at a time.


Dustin Wells is your new buddy and will provide support here.

May 8, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Over Door Paper Towel Holder


Handy, and not just on a kitchen cabinet: you could probably do a little modification and use it over a door so as to give you easy access wherever messes occur.

From the website:

    Over Cabinet Paper Towel Holder

    Over cabinet paper towel holder hangs a single paper towel roll over either side of a cabinet door without using tools or otherwise mounting it.

    Store out of sight or in the open where it can be accessed with ease.

    Non-absorbent foam backing protects cabinets from scratches.

    Also works on drawers.

    Brushed stainless-steel.

    11-3/4" x 5-1/4".


Sure, Flautist, we'll throw in a free case of paper towels for you — what brand do you prefer?

Seems to me you're the Brawny type — but hey, what do I know?

I just work here.


May 8, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Book of Disquiet — by Fernando Pessoa [1888-1935]


In these random impressions, and with no desire to be other than random, I indifferently narrate my factless autobiography, my lifeless history. These are my Confessions, and if in them I say nothing, it's because I have nothing to say.

I was born in a time when the majority of young people had lost faith in God, for the same reason their elders had had it — without knowing why.

For those few like me who live without knowing how to have life, what's left but renunciation as our way and contemplation as our destiny?

I see life as a roadside inn where I have to stay until the coach from the abyss pulls up. Night will fall on us all and the coach will pull up. I enjoy the breeze I'm given and the soul I was given to enjoy it with, and I no longer question or seek.

Sadly I write in my quiet room, alone as I have always been, alone as I will always be. And I wonder if my apparently negligible voice might not embody the essence of thousands of voices, the longing for self-expression of thousands of lives, the patience of millions of souls resigned like my own to their daily lot, their useless dreams, and their hopeless hopes.

To express something is to conserve its virtue and take away its terror.

I'd woken up early, and I took a long time getting ready to exist.

The mere thought of having to enter into contact with someone else makes me nervous. A simple invitation to have dinner with a friend produces an anguish in me that's hard to define. The idea of any social obligation whatsoever — attending a funeral, dealing with someone about an office matter, going to the station to wait for someone I know or don't know — the very idea disturbs my thoughts for an entire day, and sometimes I even start worrying the night before, so that I sleep badly. When it takes place, the dreaded encounter is utterly insignificant, justifying none of my anxiety, but the next time is no different.

May 8, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Pulse Ring


It's amazing to me, how the once-bulky — and pricey — chest strap + wrist apparatus has now been taken down to ring size affordable by the woman or man on the street.

From the website:

    Heart Monitor Ring

    Heart monitor ring tracks heart rate during exercise and daily routines.

    Not bulky like oversized arm monitors.

    FDA-approved unit features stopwatch, continuous heart rate display (30-250 beats per minute), a maximum/minimum heart rate target zone and ten hour count-up timer.

    Battery included.

    Plastic and metal.

    2" x 1-1/4" x 2".


So great: next time you have to give a presentation you can quantitate just how badly you're freaking out.


May 8, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

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